Blitz Weekly

The surprise MLB teams this season

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The Houston Astros and New York Mets have found a home in their pitching roster.
Photo courtesy: Trei Brundrett

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

The most important position in baseball is the pitcher. Pitching is the key for wins and loses. I’m surprised by two teams that have made a drastic change from cellar dwellers to first place teams. The key for the change is pitching. The Houston Astros and New York Mets are usually horrible teams because of horrible pitching. Wikipedia describes pitching and I quote:

In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher’s mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. Traditionally, the pitcher also bats. Starting in 1973 with the American League and spreading to further leagues throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the hitting duties of the pitcher have generally been given over to the position of designated hitter, a cause of some controversy. The National League in Major League Baseball and the Japanese Central League are among the remaining leagues that have not adopted the designated hitter position.

Houston Astros 20-13
Dallas Keuchel (3-0) held the Rangers to a run on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over eight innings two Monday’s ago but took no decision as Texas pulled ahead late to beat Houston, 2-1. Keuchel certainly pitched well enough to earn his fourth victory of the season, but Houston’s offense fell flat. The southpaw is averaging more than seven innings per start while leading MLB in ERA (0.80), WHIP (0.76) and innings pitched (45). He’ll face the Angels in Anaheim for his next start Saturday. He leads the leads the AL in ERA with a 1.39 average. His pitch count is low and pitch selection hasn’t been seen since Greg Maddox. His control on opposing batters makes it easy to stay in front of the count. Keuchel has a bright future ahead of him.

New York Mets 20-13
Bartolo Colon is off to a 6-1 start for the first time since the 1999 season with the Cleveland Indians. Colon became the first pitcher in franchise history to go six straight starts without issuing a walk as the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-4, in Sunday’s rubber game at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets completed a season-opening stretch in which 26 of 31 games were against NL East opponents with a 20-11 record. They hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the awakening Washington Nationals. Colon surrendered a third-inning solo homer to opposing pitcher Chad Billingsley when he tried to hit the outside corner and the ball came back over the middle of the plate. Colon was charged with four runs on eight hits in six-plus innings. Two of the runs against him were scored in the seventh when the first three batters reached and he departed. I have to mention Daniel Murphy leading the team with a surprise 18 RBIs and Wilmer Ross batting .286. Bartolo Colon has the run support to keep The Mets atop their division.

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